Card Counting For the Win!

Card counters out there, rejoice! We have scored a legal victory! Well, we have in Indiana, but you have to start somewhere.

I’m sorry to interrupt The Misplayed Blackjack Hands series that I was doing, but I came across this news piece, and as it made me happy, I wanted to share.

With the recent news about Kris Zutis’s blackjack card counting detection program, card counters have needed a boost to their morale. And that boost comes with the name of Tom Donovan.

Donovan favors the Grand Victoria riverboat casino’s blackjack tables in Rising Sun, Indiana. And he’s a card counter. His skills came to the attention of the then blackjack pit boss Patrick Banefield. Banefield told Donovan to limit his betting to $25 a hand and he would continue to let him play.

Nice to know there’s a cool pit boss.

But this all changed in June of 2006 when Sonny Duquette replaced Banefield. Here ends the happy part of the story.

Duquette barred Donovan from the Grand Victoria’s blackjack tables. Then he threw him out of the casino. In return, Donovan sued for breach of implied contract, which he says he had with Banefield.

Last Friday the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled in favor of Donovan…sort of.

They upheld the dismissal of Donovan’s claim of implied contract. However, the Indiana Court of Appeals also rejected the Grand Victoria’s argument. See, the Grand Victorian said they had a common law right to exclude any patron for any reason or no reason at all.

The Indiana Court of Appeals said, “Grand Victoria may not simply take refuge in the common law right of exclusion, inasmuch as it is the public policy of this State that gambling is subject to ‘strict regulation,’ and the [Indiana Casino Control] Commission has been given exclusive authority to set rules of riverboat casino games.”

In other words, the Indiana Casino Control Commission makes the rules, not the Grand Victoria. The court ruled that he was thrown out of the casino for his mental prowess during a Commission-regulated game, so the Grand Victoria’s decision to throw him out is not protected by the common law.

We may find over the next several months or couple years more and more consumer-friendly decisions being made since more and more states are legalizing casino gambling. The States want us to play because they get a portion of the casinos’ profits in the form of gambling taxes. And with the U.S. economy being in the state that it’s in, more and more states are looking to other sources for funding their budgets—take Florida and the Seminole Tribe casinos. The taxes from the Seminole Tribe casinos help fund education in Florida.